By Douglas Carlson, liver transplant recipient
As a recipient of a life-saving liver transplant, when Father’s Day rolls around each year and I’m spending time – that I wasn’t sure I was going to get to have – with my sons, I like to reflect on my second chance at life, and to be thankful to my hero who made it all possible.
In 1992, I started having severe side aches. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a rare liver disease, and was placed on the transplant wait list. For the next seven years, I waited, hoping I would live long enough to see my two sons graduate from high school. On June 29, 1999, I received a life-saving transplant that has given me the time I was hoping for with my sons, and so much more.
Now, I work hard to keep healthy and honor my donor. I follow a good diet and play ice hockey two days a week. Last summer I was lucky enough to celebrate my 70th birthday and can’t thank my donor and donor family enough for the selfless gift that has helped to keep me alive. My donor family, whom I’ve had the privilege of meeting a number of times, holds a very special place in my heart.
In sharing my story, I am hopeful that I can help to inspire others to say “yes” to organ, eye and tissue donation. DonatelifeColorado.org is a great resource with the facts you need to make an informed decision about donation and to register as a donor online. You can also register while obtaining a driver’s license or state ID.